THE MARRIAGE PERMIT
Someone just wrote in to ask if we would be in favor of a “marriage permit.” It was a remarkable question because back in March, I wrote this: http://www.divorcesaloon.com/the-divorce-revolution-has-divorce-become-too-commonplace and in it, I almost sort of cavalierly advocated a marriage permit prior to a marriage license.
Now that I think about it, I think it is absolutely a brilliant idea and that its time has come. With skyrocketing divorce rates – even among same sex couples who only just received the right to marry in a handful of states – it is clear that many people both straight and gay are not taking marriage seriously at all, and in a way, many seem to make a mockery of the institution. Yes, I think divorce has become like drunk driving was before it was made a felony. Marriage has become a sport. People need more consequences imposed on them so that they start to take marriage more seriously.
One way to do that, is to impose a mandatory 5 year learner period. People who want to marry would get a marriage learner permit that will last 5 years. It will kinda sorta be like them being married, but not quite. From day one to year five, they would sort of have this constructive domestic partnership. Or something like that. During the trial period, they will learn to be spouses and they will demonstrate that they have the goods to take the marriage into longevity and that they are not just getting married for the sake of getting married.
After five years, if these two people still really want to be married, then and only then should the state give them that marriage license. Of course, if children are born during the 5 year period, they would still be protected by the CSSA and the Family Court Act and all. But as for property rights, folks would be strongly advised during the learner period to keep everything separate as far as assets or risk not getting full equitable distribution till they are really married. (This one is hard because….well, I don’t know how this would work yet, so that it is fair. Because 5 years is a long time to walk away with nothing from the marriage. On the other hand, if all states became “fault” states then that would be one way to protect the innocent spouse from a malfeasor who just tries to get out prior to the five year period just so they wouldn’t have to equitably distribute the marital wealth.)
But. As far as inheritance rights. If a spouse dies before the five year period is up, then inheritance rights would kick in fully. But so long as they live for the five year trial period, they are sort of married, but not really till they prove they are really committed and in it for the long haul.
Yes. I think one way to stem the divorce rate is to give these folks a marriage permit the way you give drivers a learner permit. I mean, there’s a reason why folks like me still don’t have a driver’s license. And there are good reasons why some folks should not be given a marriage license as well.
What do you think? Other than “are you out of your mind?!”
Image credit www.flickr.com kayugee’s photostream